decision-making

4 Steps to Decision-Making Made Easy

Cindy
Cindy Vanhoff is an Organizing & Productivity Strategist.  She believes in being as efficient and effective with her time and space as she can be, so she has the time to do the things she loves with those she loves.  For over a decade and a half, Cindy has been sharing with others how they can make the most of their time and space, so they too can make more time for the things that matter.  

“Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it.”    Anna Taylor

What is your decision-making process around how you spend your time?
Is the way you spend your time based on your passions?
Or is the way you spend your time decided by others?

 

The way we spend our time each day can help us to find fulfillment as long as we spend the time in a way that is in alignment with our values and desires. Oftentimes, however, we don’t get to decide what most of our days look like. This makes it easy to lose touch with our values and can result in us giving away our days without true intention.

When I was younger and worked for others, I will admit my days and hours away from work were determined by my family. Work time was determined by my bosses.
One of the reasons I began my business was so I could spend time with my family when I wanted to. When starting, I wasn’t particularly good with boundaries. The time I was spending with family was on their schedules and terms, and not my own.
This wasn’t working for me so I solved the issue by setting boundaries, collaborating, and putting some rules in place for decision-making.

As a solopreneur, there are so many decisions to make, so many tasks to complete, and certainly not enough time to do it all. Having a plan in place to ensure we spend our time well is essential and not that hard. I have been a solopreneur for over 15 years. Being my own boss was quite a transition from working for others, and the time management aspect took me a little bit to figure out, as did the decision-making process.

What it comes down to is the decision-making process.
There are four different choices in this process.
We can do the task, delegate it, defer it, or delete it.

Let’s take a look at the 4 choices and how we determine which choice we make.
How do we decide where a task goes?
What determines how we spend our time?

First of all, we need to have clarity around our goals, the direction we are headed, and the values we have stated for ourselves and our business. From there, we determine the things that need to be done to reach our goals, and we divvy them up accordingly.

For example, it has always been important to me that I write my own content. I always wanted my writing to be in my voice as it’s important to me that people know me for me, not something that is a canned copy or written by someone else.

In the beginning, I only wrote a newsletter, which was pretty easy to do between in-person clients. When I started doing my business online, this task load increased. I no longer just wrote a newsletter. I also wrote a blog, created social media, and wrote online courses.
I knew there was no way I could do it all. I had to decide what I could let go of and hand off to someone else, defer it to a later time, or, just let it go completely.

To make those decisions, I needed to know all the things that had to be done in order to complete all of these items. I did this by writing a list of all the things that needed to be done.

It would look like this.
Blog

  • Create
  • Edit
  • Publish
  • Promote

Social Media

  • Create
  • Edit
  • Schedule

Online courses

  • Create
  • Edit
  • Launch

Here is how I decided what category each thing went under. Since using my own voice is so important to me, I put anything that had to do with writing in the ‘do’ column.

Do
  • Create a blog post.
  • Create social media posts.
  • Create online courses.

After writing a blog post, my eyes and brain are tired. I need someone else to look it over for me, so I put edit in the delegate column as well as scheduling. I don’t mind creating, but scheduling although pretty easy, just wasn’t an effective use of my time and wasn’t making me any money. That time could be better spent developing courses that would make me money

Delegate
  • Editing of blog, social media, and online courses and anything associated with the course.
  • Scheduling of social media.
Defer

When it comes to deferring tasks, it’s usually because my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Before I created my first online course, I imagined I would create a course every 2 months. Boy, I learned very quickly that I just don’t have that in me. I am not out to make a million dollars; I am out to make a difference and earn enough from it.
So, my dream of creating an online course every 2 months has been deferred to once a quarter or maybe even every 4 months.
I have delegated many things to the Someday/Maybe list. If you want to learn more about this list, take a look at David Allen’s Book, Getting Things Done.

Delete

The things I listed above, all need to be done, so there is nothing I can delete from that list. But, if I took a look at my overall list of things I want to accomplish, there will be plenty to delete. If you are anything like me, which I know you are because you are an entrepreneur, you have a million ideas written down somewhere (I hope you aren’t keeping them in your head), and many of them just don’t have the ROI you expect.

Here is a simple way to divvy things up:

 

Do Delegate Defer Delete
  • Create blog
  • Create social media posts
  • Create online courses
  • Editing
  • Scheduling
  • Publish
  • Launch work
  • Courses every 4 months, not every 2.
  • Do in-person classes every month

Do I still do things I probably shouldn’t do? Yes I do, and I am working on that!

Let me tell you my reasoning behind doing “it all”.
I like to do something myself once, so I know how to do it. After I have done it once, it should be out of my hands. I know I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to.
However, is it worth the time, the frustration, or the result? Could someone else have done it better?
Most likely.
So, in the future, I will be delegating anything that has to do with mechanically launching anything online, design work as well as website creation.  I have done them all. Sometimes I enjoyed the process, but most of the time I didn’t but I can do them if I need to.
There are always going to be times when money isn’t in abundance, or you can’t find the right person for the job, so it’s good to know how to do some things.

I know how to upload and publish a blog, I know how to send out newsletters, and I even know how to make a website.
However, I have to ask myself if these are the things that are helping me realize my dream of helping others be organized, efficient and effective in what they do?
And…the answer is no.

Action Item(s)

  1. Write out a list of all the things that need to be done in your business.
  2. Categorize them in your 4-column list.
  3. Focus on the Do’s
  4. Find someone to delegate to. Even if it’s just one thing at a time.
  5. Take just a minute to read Overwhelm: Causes and Cures | Too Much To Do

 

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